3 Challenges to an Effective Onboarding Workflow
An onboarding workflow is in motion whenever data is passed between various entities, and activities are completed. So, for example, an example of employee onboarding workflow is the process of access set-up, as part of your IT Onboarding. You go from not having access to having access, there are multiple steps, and possibly more than a person, such as HR and the systems admin.
But notice how we signaled that there are some challenges to an effective onboarding workflow. Just because workflows happen more or less as a natural part of your onboarding process, it does not automatically imply efficiency. So, what makes an employee onboarding workflow effective? And, in contract, what prevents an employee onboarding workflow from achieving effectiveness?
Relying on Outdated Onboarding Workflows
The major obstacle to experiencing an excellent onboarding is when your new company’s employee onboarding workflow is outdated and strictly paperwork focused. Nothing can be as underwhelming as spending your first day at work bombarded with papers. This is the opposite of a digital employee onboarding, which is becoming the new standard of onboarding.
Your first day at work should be exciting and even inspiring. Filling out your employment forms and signing tax papers does not really fit the bill of exciting onboarding experiences.
Relying on Manual Onboarding Workflows
You will probably receive an onboarding checklist to keep track of tasks you need to complete to fulfill your job expectations. Maybe you even received a visual flow chart. However, when you have to follow your progress manually, it could lead to inconsistent new hire experiences.
A small company that hires one new employee per month can probably get away with using a manual onboarding workflow. But the higher the organisational complexity, and the higher the frequency of bringing new employees on board, the more difficult it becomes to rely on a manual onboarding workflow. A manual onboarding workflow is more prone to human error. Moreover, the whole workflow can suffer if, for example, the key person was sick.
I have first hand experience to arriving to work on my first day only to find out that the HR responsible was on holiday. So, because this person was not at work and my contract was not registered, nobody could approve my access to the internal systems for a full week. Not a very rewarding job start, is it? I could spend time meeting people and reading some materials, but what if the same happened in a virtual onboarding process? It would have been an even worse experience.
Manual onboarding workflows might not only lead to unsatisfactory experiences, but they could also end up hindering your capacity to come to speed and attain optimum productivity. Just like in my previous example. No access to systems meant no opportunity for productive work.
Lack of Consistency & Standardisation
When onboarding workflows are not standardised, different actors could bring different approaches to onboarding activities. This is particularly relevant for training. If there is no standard method of doing something, different new hires might get different inputs. Different mentors might have not only different methods, but also different priorities.
This will not only lead to inconsistent onboarding experiences, but also to inconsistent performances.
With standardised onboarding workflows, each and every new hire benefits from the same style of activities. Goals and priorities align. Additionally, if a person is sick or on holiday, the entire workflow stays on track without derailing. Furthermore, new hire specific knowledge is uniform, simply because everyone receives exactly the same training. This can be particularly reassuring to line managers.
As a new hire, this can make provide you with the boost of confidence, that your knowledge is as good as anyone else’s. So, you can take ownership of your tasks without self-doubt.